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Seneca-Jones to venge log? Cascadia Forest Defenders say "sorry"

Last week, Kathy Jones of Seneca-Jones timber told The Oregonian that the timber company wants to log the Elliott State Forest for " personal reasons" and says of CFD members "“They’re elitist environmentalists, they’re sent from Washington D.C., they’re not about doing anything reasonable.” 

This leaves EW wondering if Jones has ever actually seen a CFD member in person?  Jones was responding to a letter from CFD vowing to put lawsuits on desks and protesters in trees if timber companies bid on parcels of the public Elliott forest that the state is looking to sell into private hands.

The Oregonian writes:

Seneca Jones Timber Co. on Wednesday announced it bid on land for sale in the Elliott State Forest to deliberately challenge environmental groups that warned they would sue to block the state from divesting forestland potentially housing the threatened marbled murrelet seabird.

Kathy Jones, Seneca Jones’ co-owner, said her company didn’t bid on the land because her mill needs lumber but because she and her two sisters refused to be bullied by “eco-radical” environmental groups and believed no other timber companies made an offer.

“It was just like: No, we’re not going to lay down for this,” Jones said. “We’re taking a stand. It’s very much a personal decision. We just decided we were going to do this based on principle and bring it to the public’s attention.”

Like the spotted owl before it, the murrelet has become a cornerstone species for environmental groups seeking to curtail logging in Oregon. The bird’s population in Washington, Oregon and California has steadily declined over the last decade.

This week, the Cascadia Forest Defenders offer an abject apology (OK, not really).

Cascadia Forest Defenders, an organization composed of dozens of community volunteers, would like to express our apologies for causing the owners of Seneca Jones timber company, who are some of the richest and most powerful people in Lane County, to feel so bullied. In this day and age, when many of us are separated from the 1% by dramatic differences in the way we experience daily life, it can be hard for us to remember just how threatened the rich and elite can feel when challenged by those so far below them. We recognize now that a company like Seneca Jones, a company that admittedly can afford to spend millions of dollars out of spite by bidding on a land sale in the Elliott Forest because they "refuse to be bullied " must find it terrifying to have a group of community organizers suggest that people and planet should come before profit and property lines.

However, there are some things that we are confused about. If Seneca Jones wants to clearcut ecosystems for "our children's well-being", why is the company's biomass plant, which pumps an estimated 14 tons of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and other chemical goodies, located within three miles of three separate schools? Folks within that Eugene zip code have almost twice the rate of asthma as the rest of town - that same zip code also has the highest percentage of people living below the poverty line. If Seneca Jones is submitting a bid on the Elliott "for all Oregonians", why does it seem like the wealthiest are profiting at the expense of the poorests' physical health?

Additionally, the United States Forest Service states that only 5% of Oregon original coastal forests remain intact. Obviously, it was naive of us to think that killing most of an ecosystem could ever be enough, that the millions and millions of dollars in profit could ever be enough. Jones family, we are sorry that we may have to prevent your family from owning yet another million dollar racehorse, which is obviously more important then clean drinking water, critical fish habitat, and resilient, healthy forests. 

We really owe you one, Seneca. Something about your recent media comments has activists flocking in, hoping to meet you in the woods. Perhaps it was publicly admitting you intend to clear-cut old growth in East Hakki, which according to the Oregon Department of Forestry has "trees more than 300 years old" which "contain platforms that are suitable for marbled murrelet nests." Perhaps, it's our own excitement, generated by the group of people that saved most of the Trapper Timber sale (remember, that old growth you tried to log in the Willamette National Forest?). Perhaps it is all the neighborhood residents who can no longer breathe in their backyards due to your dirty power plant spewing toxic fumes all over the neighborhood. 

We don’t know what it is Seneca Jones, but people sure are hoping you win that bid.